Give It Away

March 2, 2015 — 2 Comments
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I believe what we are going to talk about works and if done correctly works really well.  This might be that extra shot your next fundraiser needs.

The other day I got a call from the world famous Jon Hamilton who runs Christian FM / WSCF FM in Vero Beach Florida.  He wanted to chat about his upcoming fundraiser and had one main question he wanted to ask.  The question was, what have I seen on the road in regards to stations doing some major prize drawings during their fundraisers.  My response is that I have a lot of clients who are using drawings for iPads, Mini iPads, TV’s etc…for drawings during their fundraising events and have great success with doing this.  Usually stations have one or two major drawings daily, so it’s not a ton that will clutter the fundraiser.  I’ll write more in a minute about the give aways.  I shot a note to Jon and asked him how using major give aways worked during his recent fundraiser.

“I have to admit I am a late adopter of give-always.  To me, it sounded too much like a lotto and I bristled at what I perceived to be bad giving motive.  But truthfully, the issue these days is often less convincing people to give, it’s convincing them to act NOW.  Eventually I became convinced that an incentive to interrupt the trip taking Johnny to karate practice to make a call was needed by Becky.

On WSCF had good success securing some giveaways, so we introduced drawings for TV’s, hotel getaways, furniture and food.  We even had a nicely catered home party for ten. (That was crazy)   

In the end, what it accomplished was a much more consistent stream of calls, and a marked increase in participation.  The pledge drive ended early with 110% of goal reached.  We had not seen that since the Florida real estate bust.”

I am telling you it works and I have to ditto what Jon just said, “…these days is often less about convincing people to give, it’s convincing them to act NOW.”  We live in a world where radio is competing with so many other devices, media and other distractions.  Many times your station has made the sale to your listeners but you have to close the deal, to get them to call right NOW.  Great prizes will not sell your station to your audience, that has to be done all year long, what it does is it gets them to call you when you give the number.  A great prize for your first day of your fundraiser could actually allow your station to have a great start.

Bill@ShareMediaServices.com

Coaching with Bill Scott

Be careful how you give away your prizes.  You must make sure you don’t end up with a lottery on the air.  Everyone can enter your drawings, even if they don’t give and you must say this on the air at some point.  Usually I’ll say something like, “Any pledge you give right now enters you in our drawing, your financial pledge, you prayer pledge, just call now and lets see how we can support WSCF.”  I don’t do this a lot but I will throw that in a couple of times per hour.  If you want to have a log of when you make those mentions, than put together a promo to run once an hour has that information in it and you are covered in case someone has an issue.

In closing, I am told that Andrew Patton will be giving each station all the major prizes needed for your next event, just tell him Bill sent you, well maybe you better use the name Jon Hull LOL.

This Spring I am offering the The Fundraising Tuneup, two calls approximately one hour in length with management and on-air staff.  These calls would take place the two weeks leading up to your fundraiser.  This will include how to be more effective during your fundraiser as personalities, which of course will result in more donations along with a number of tips that will enhance your fundraiser.  It’s amazing how a few tips and some coaching can make all the difference in connecting with your listeners.  After being involved in over 600 fundraisers I have a list of things that will help your staff.  We can meet on the phone or a live video stream.  Contact me for more information about this service, space is limited due to my fundraising schedule.

Feel free to shoot me an email should you need more information at bill@ShareMediaServices.com.  Happy fundraising.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott-ShareMedia Services

I love Christian radio, I’ve given my whole career to it.  I’ve always felt that being in Christian radio was a calling that God had placed on my life.  I know this blog is usually about different things we can do to improve our fundraising and formats, however, I believe this is the foundation as to why we do what we do daily.

At each station I’ve worked at or any of the syndicate shows I have done over the years, I’ve always been encouraged to share hope, encouragement and point listeners to the Lord.  My guess is most of you feel pretty much the same way.  Being in Christian radio is more than a gig for you.  If we are not careful, the busyness of working in ministry will distract us to the point we  no longer work on our spiritual life.  Trust me, after 30 years in ministry, this can be done very easy.  It’s amazing to think we are working so hard for God that we actually put our relationship with Him on the back burner.  I’m the first to say I’ve been guilty of doing that.

Here’s my challenge for you as announcers, mangers, station owners and any staff members.  Make sure you are growing spiritually.  Spend time in the Word daily.  Take time out to be part of a church.  For some going to church is going to a church building, others it’s a small group in a home but at the end of the day it’s a church.  You have to be fed daily and walk in accountablity if you plan on growing in your understanding of Jesus.  You cannot give your listeners what you don’t have, meaning you cannot share encouragement, hope, understanding of the faith if you yourself are starving.   Again, you can’t give what you don’t have.

About a decade ago I was invited to go on a tour with five bands and a solo artist.  I spoke often at youth rallies and festivals because of my involvement in the youth ministry I was running at the time.  I was excited to join these bands on tour.  I’ll never forget about five days into a 30 day tour, finding out that none of the bands read the Bible, however, the solo artist did read the Bible so I had one person on my side.  The bands were shocked when I announced we would have a daily devotional together before each event.  Long story short, the bands began to see the concerts change and kids sharing that God had touched their lives during the events.  As the bands began to grow spiritually, spending time in the word, they had something to give where before they had nothing to say outside of playing their music.  They simply couldn’t give what they didn’t have.

We live in a crazy world that is hungry for hope and change.  We first owe it to ourselves, family and than our listeners to be fit spiritually.  This doesn’t mean we are perfect, not going through our own stuff but it does mean we are spending time daily reading the Bible and having a community of believers to share life with.

I long to have God fill me with his Spirit daily so I have something to give when I am on the air and at the end of the day, my guess that is your desire as well.  Lets make this year a year of growth, accountability and full of God’s power.  I’ll leave you with this powerful quote.

“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.” 

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

Keep The Integrity

January 29, 2015 — Leave a comment
Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I am sure the first thing that comes to mind is that’s a no brainer.  Well, at the surface you would be correct.  There are not too many people that would tell you their goal is to not have integrity.

I have had the privilege of working in some sort of a ministry my whole life.  I grew up as a pastor’s kid and than followed my father in ministry.  I didn’t become a pastor but I did end up in Christian radio.

Over the years I’ve seen people in ministry lose their integrity.  Most didn’t set out for that to happen.  You see it’s the little compromises that leads up to failing the ministry that God has placed us in.  Rarely is it one huge epic fail.  I’ll never forget doing a sharathon at a radio station that will remain nameless, and the head of the ministry asked me to make up a $10,000 match.  I remember just staring at this man.  I was trying to process what I heard.  I had to repeat to him what he just told me in order to make sure that I was understanding what he wanted me to do.  He said, “Hey, its just funny money until it actually comes in.”  Now, it’s true some people call in their pledge and never make good on it.  What he was asking me to do was lie and mislead people.  He wasn’t happy when I told him I wouldn’t do it and if he decided to go that route I would have to leave the studio when he did it.  I don’t believe he got to this point over night, it was a series of small compromises.

My challenge to you is to keep an eye out for the small things.  If you are in full-time ministry, more than likely working at a Christian radio station, then Satan is waiting for the chance to trip you up.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  (1Peter 5:8)

513h5LORxdL._AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-51,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Keep in mind, it’s the small choices we make that begin the ball rolling.  My friend Ron Day has a new book out called The Hedge, The Winepress and The Tower, which is on Kindle.  I love what he said in his book, a great reminder for all of us.  This book is a quick read and well worth the time.

“In ancient times, when there was a vineyard planted, these little foxes (not the big ones) would sneak into the vineyard and eat the flower of the vine.  This was more damaging than just eating the grapes as this meant that the vine would never produce fruit.  The enemy wishes to use these “little foxes” to destroy the flower of our vine before it can ever produce fruit.”

“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom”

(Song of Solomon 2:15)  

Make sure you hold onto your integrity during your next fundraiser.  Don’t do so much theater of the mind that it actually deceives your listeners.  Keep things above board.  When dealing with the ministries finances, keep it above board.  In your own personal life, keep your standards high and don’t compromise on the little things.  As most of you know, your personal life can spill over into your ministry and that last thing we want to do is destroy a ministry that God has entrusted you to work at.

Have a great fundraising season and lets be praying for each other.  I’ll leave you with this quote:

“There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.”  Tom Peters

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 8.56.41 PMNo Rob is not paying me to write this article, however, I am open to a small fee.   I’ve had the privilege of watching Christian radio very close over the last 30 plus years.  I love how radio has changed over the decades.  I believe the biggest changes in radio will take place over the next 5 years.  I have been beating the drum that radio needs to find out what is next and how to ride the wave.  Those who figure it out will be successful and those who don’t will be left behind, perhaps even out of the radio business.Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 8.58.17 PM

If you say that you work at a radio station, you are already behind the eight ball.  You should be working at a communication company that has many different outlets in reaching it’s listeners and yes even viewers and that is exactly where Rob Dempsey at His Radio fits in.

If you are simply looking for music, time, temp and traffic than the following morning show would not fit your station.  Rob’s morning show has a 5 camera shoot, providing listeners with amazing content that is heard over the radio and yes seen online.  His morning show is nothing shy of brilliant.  His first year in providing video of his breaks, he saw more than 1.2 million downloads.  Rob has found a way to create community with his listeners and using the TV aspect has brought the listeners into the studio with Rob.

Rob and the team spend countless hours putting together content both that works for audio and video.  Many videos include those in the community, content from Youtube and artists that stop by the studio.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.17.51 PM

Just last Christmas Rob did a great radio piece that worked well for both radio and video by making a Christmas wish come true.  Warning, you might be fighting tears while watching this break from the morning show.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.05.19 PMRecently Kirk Cameron stopped by Rob’s show to push his new Christmas movie.  Instead of doing the normal interview, Rob took time to place Kirk at a local Chick Fil A for some fun and of course had the camera rolling.  This one break from his morning show went viral and landed up on Good Morning America.

Screen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.06.40 PMArtists often stop by the studio.  Listeners love hearing their favorite artists but you can see how video would draw them to a web site so they could actually see the interview as well.  I love this piece with Brandon Heath.

Recently the morning team built the first TV trailer for radio so they can filmScreen Shot 2014-12-21 at 9.07.25 PM while on location.  Needless to say, if you see Rob pop up just about anywhere your going to see camera’s following him.

I caught up with Rob to ask him a few questions and yes, he was on the treadmill when I asked him some of these questions.

  • When did you start video for your morning show?
Rob:  We started shooting January 2012 wanting to capture and share online artist interviews. We bought a couple of GoPro cameras to keep in the studio to lesson the need for bringing in multiple cameras. That led to getting our own equipment and software so we could shoot everything in house and so we could begin to stream the interviews.  After that we began to think, hey, we have the equipment in the studio, so why not stream the whole show every day online.  We started shooting the whole morning show June 2012.
  • How many cameras do you shoot with?
    • Rob:  4 Stationary GoPro and 1 mobile Black Magic Camera.
  • How many people do you have on the morning show?
    • Rob:  2 Co-Hosts and 1 Producer On air and Camera.
  •   How many off air helping to run your morning show?
    • Rob:  2 to 3 for video support.
  • So how many downloads did you have the first year?
    • Rob:  1.2 million videos viewed and loaded in the first year.
  • Are you seeing your online streaming growing?
    • Rob:  An overwhelming YES now at 2,004 million videos viewed as of 1/2/15.
  • Why do you feel it’s important to provide your morning show on video?
    • Rob:  When was the last time you watched a video? What did you watch it on? Most people would tell you that they watched a video today and on their smartphone.  This is why we started video.  We wanted to be were the people are, on their devises they are using today and tomorrow.  I really believe that this helps to build deeper relationships with the people we spend time with on the radio everyday. This type of radio helps to make a greater impact and ultimately sharing the gospel in their lives .
  • How often do you do live remotes and do you film on location?
    • Rob:  Our goal for 2015 is two each month and this will grow to one a week laster this year.  We built a fully custom LIVE radio/video trailer that brings the whole show on the road.

The morning team at His Radio is Rob Dempsey, CO-host Alison Storm, producer Jim Mann, and our executive video producer DJ. Also, video switcher JD.  This group of folks make up one of the best morning shows in our industry.

I would encourage you to tune in and also watch what Rob and the morning team are doing at His Radio.  At first you might be thinking this is way to much work and I agree it can be.  I would encourage to begin small,  just like Rob did.  I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly things will grow.  Go and make 2015 an out of the box experience for your radio station!  If you are doing something out of the box at your station, I would love to hear from you.  Email, Bill@BillScottGroup.com.

 

David Smallbone and family

David Smallbone and family

I grew up in a post Christian country that didn’t have Christian radio early on, so to now live in the US and have had the benefit of this ministry resource for my children, is something I don’t take for granted and for which I am very thankful.

Having started in the industry in Oz some 40 plus yrs ago, my first label was mainstream but they allowed me, surprisingly, to sign a Christian group ( Family ) who became quite successful even getting to the point of touring as support to Evie! I then tried my hand at radio and lasted as promotions manager for a secular station for a year before I felt the call to get into the CCM thing full time.

God willing, I’ve been involved ever since, enjoying some very special moments but also some very dark days. The hard times got my attention and I took them as a discipline to go deeper in my relationship with Jesus.

When Bill suggested I drop you all a note, I initially thought no, but then on a second thought, it occurred to me that I had a responsibility to encourage you just like you have encouraged my family and I.

Probably the best thought that came to mind was to suggest that in personal and business matters, we look at putting all our decisions through the ministry filter. I too often think us men make important decisions from a commercial perspective and not through the God’s economy thought pattern. The older I get, the more I want to be involved in the miraculous as against the boring commercial position. There is something about the calling of the faith walk that keeps us on our knees I believe.

Thanks for your commitment to what’s important. It is a joy for my family and I to be in this ministry partnership with you.

Happy new year. old bloke ( just turned 65 folks )

David Smallbone

David is the father and manager for Joel and Luke (For King and Country) and Rebecca St. James.  Most of you already know that but I wanted to make sure everyone knew.  David and his family have been an encouragement and fan of Christian radio for years.  David is a good friend to many of us.

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

I can remember before underwriting became a big deal in non-commercial radio.  My first Christian station that I worked at in Central Florida survived by it’s on air fundraisers 100%.

Now this is crazy but many of you will understand.  As a radio guy, I still looked forward to stop sets when I was working in non-commercial radio.  I felt like they made us feel more commercial or more like real radio if we had to take breaks just like the other guys.  I wanted to be one of the big boys lol.

When non-commercial radio found out about how much underwriting could be worth to their station, it was like finding a buried treasure.  In an instant we found free money.  Our budgets were able to increase.  Money was falling from the sky.  To be honest, most stations at that point really needed the shot in the arm financially.

Thirty years later I look back and wonder what did we trade when we crossed over the bridge to underwriting?  There’s no doubt the more underwriting you do the less money you raise from your on-air fundraisers.   Some would argue that it’s worth it and perhaps they are right.  I think from a programming point of view we gave up something that no one else could touch.  Christian stations compete in the ratings with the mainstream stations.  There are so many things that mainstream is able to do that we just cannot compete with because of our smaller budgets.  However, the one thing they couldn’t compete with us on, we gave away.  We didn’t have to play commercials.  Yeah, I know it’s called underwriting but at the end of the day it’s a commercial to a listener.  Commercial stations have to play spots all day long, they have zero choice.  They cannot just play music, they have to sell time.  I would imagine commercial stations would freak out if one of their competitors stopped playing commercials or underwriting.   Can you imagine only stepping down once or twice and hour for a minute or two for underwriting?  That is something they could never compete with.  We could honestly be playing more music and providing more content than the station across the street and there would be nothing they could do about it.  This could be your secret weapon.

I travel the country each week.  I listen to Christian radio stations all the time.  I listen to stations I consult and those I don’t.  The other day I was listening to a Christian non-commercial station and in just one stop set they played 11 elements.  It was a long commercial break, even though it was underwriting.  There was 22-24 elements total in two stop sets each hour.  They were playing as much as the local Clear Channel station in their market.  The underwriting sounded very commercial.

There is a connection problem between you and your listeners when you don’t sound non-commercial.  Stations rant and rave all day long how they are listener supported but yet they sound very, very commercial.  WGTS in DC recently deleted their underwriting program and started over.  They moved business support to their web site and have limited underwriting to a couple of minutes each hour.  The underwriting they kept on the air are for other non-profits.  They even dropped their sponsors for traffic and news, that of course cost WGTS money out of pocket.   WGTS has seen an increase from listener support, why?  because they sound listener supported.  Read this article from Kevin Kruger from WGTS about why he killed his underwriting program.

I am not sure there is a right way or wrong way of doing this.   At the end of the day, I think we have given away the one thing that mainstream radio cannot compete with us on.  The purpose of this blog is to cause us to think.  Perhaps there’s a great balance that your station has found.  The bottom line is you have to do what is right for your station.  I’d love to see some comments and idea’s on this post.

A Christmas Challenge

December 23, 2014 — Leave a comment
Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes

“Times of obscurity and anonymity, our back stage times, can be precious when they are in the hands of God.”

The following is a Christmas devotional I was asked to write. It was written primarily for today’s artists, radio professionals and podcasters who create and present what is known as contemporary Christian music.

Its born out of some deeper things my wife Irene and I learned together during our time off last summer. Hope it blesses you. Merry Christmas!

A Key To Our Life Is Found Back Stage

When Jesus was born, he was delivered on a small front stage where only a few guests were invited to watch. Soon after, he was whisked away to lesser known back stages in Egypt and Nazareth. It’s interesting to observe how little we actually know about the life of Jesus. His back stage life lasted 30 years. When you consider the few accounts we have of his childhood years followed by his three short ministry years, it’s almost stunning to realize that as Christian music professionals and artists we base our entire faith and ministry work on only about 36 months of Jesus’ life on earth.

What was happening during Jesus’ first 3 decades? Why didn’t God return Him to the front stage sooner? I mean, think of all the additional work He could’ve accomplished! But this is another reminder that God’s ways are not our ways. There may be something of value here for us to learn; times of obscurity and anonymity, our back stage times, can be precious when they are in the hands of God. Perhaps there’s a lot more to life than what we see from the front stage!

We read that during Jesus’ early years while He lived in obscurity “he grew in wisdom and stature.” (Luke 2:52 NLT) This happened before He attended the wedding in Cana, before His many teachings in the synagogues, and before His feeding of the 5,000! Those were each front stage activities visible to the public. Yet before all that began it was when he was back stage, the Bible says, “He grew.” I used to think His first 30 years were a waste. I now believe those years were significant and prepared Him for what was ahead.

My friend and author Stephen W. Smith in his book The Jesus Life writes “In those hidden years, all thirty of them, the tender soul of God was shaped and formed [in Jesus]…Learning to embrace obscure seasons and hidden years yields a richness in our lives that frees us from the demands to be applauded…When we read the Bible, we meet many characters whose lives and hearts were shaped not by the limelight or through fame and fortune, but by living out ordinary, if not hidden, lives.”

Consider the story of Joseph found in Genesis. Over a 13 year period he was betrayed and forsaken by his own brothers, falsely accused by the wife of a government official, and wrongly thrown into prison. Only a changed life, a heart tenderly shaped and formed by God during those dark back stage years could’ve later responded to his brothers by saying, “You planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good…you have nothing to fear…I’ll take care of you.” (Gen 50: 19-21 MSG) Consider also Moses. He was raised among royalty. He later committed murder and fled into obscurity where he remained for years. While in his secluded back stage setting and without any fanfare, God came and spoke to him. The ground became holy and Moses was transformed. Only then he was returned to the front stage.

We all are aware the Christmas season can surface all kinds of emotions. Some of us will feel joy, deep gladness, and a sense of belonging. Meanwhile other people will feel very depressed or disappointed with themselves, or with others. They may regret career choices they have made and feel stuck. As believers who are tasked with ministering to others, we ourselves can be in a very dark place, feel unimportant or like we’re living in obscurity, having less joy and more frustration and discouragement. And when that microphone is turned on and people are waiting for our words, we know deep down we’re speaking about a life we aren’t really living.

Don’t give up this Christmas season! Take heart, for there is good news of great joy! A key to the Christian life is found somewhere back stage! Another friend and author Lance Witt writes in his book Replenish, “The Christian life is inside out…the private informs the public. He [Jesus] taught that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. He taught that the root [back stage] determines the fruit [front stage].” Again, a key to the Christian life is found back stage!

So much emphasis and pressure on what is important in our industry, for both the media professional or artist, is about “the show,” whether that show is on the radio, in a podcast, or at a concert. The challenges we all face together trying to honestly reach our culture with the love and message of Jesus, demand a lot from us on that front stage. We want to be prepared, equipped and ready for it. While the front stage is all about the “fruit,” our back stage is all about our “root.” Let’s accept and embrace where we are and who we are, with all our weaknesses and strengths, in our seasons of anonymity, our back stages where God can do His deeper work in our lives, just as He did during those obscure years in the lives of Joseph, Moses and Jesus.

This Christmas season let’s allow Jesus to shape and form our hearts, replenish our souls, and create a richness in our lives that frees us from the need to be applauded or be in the limelight, but prepares us for it!

Dusty Rhodes

Senior Vice President at WAY Media, INC

Investing In Your Staff

December 17, 2014 — Leave a comment
Brian Sanders

Brian Sanders – Executive Vice-President

Why We Did It.

Allow me to begin by saying I’ve been a friend with Bill Scott for nearly 25 years.  I’m not sure what that says about mine or his ability to choose friends.  Over those years, Bill has gained my respect for his expertise in fundraising and his ability to coach others to be better fundraisers.

Recently, Positive Alternative Radio announced three major benefit initiatives for our team members, which included volunteering at other non-profits, financial wellness training from Dave Ramsey’s organization and tuition-free classes from Liberty University Online.

Why?

Why did PAR do this?

That’s the question Bill asked.

A few years back PAR leadership began to consider the question, “What kind of culture do we want to build?”   We landed on Starbucks.

Starbucks has an amazing corporate culture.  So, the leadership team began reading every book about Starbucks, watching videos of their CEO Howard Schultz and trying to understand how to birth that culture within Positive Alternative Radio.

It really comes down to our Ways of Being.   Most companies have core values.   Those “core values” become a pretty little plaque that hangs on a wall that no one every thinks about.   They’re stagnant.  Lifeless.

Ways of Being are actionable.

Happy is behind the board.  Brian Sanders to the left and Frankie Morea to the right.

Happy is behind the board. Brian Sanders to the left and Frankie Morea to the right.

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time, and will continue to do so, emphasizing and being the example of PAR’s Ways of Being.

The Ways of Being are a general framework that allows every person in the organization to know how to be and what they should be.

Our Ways of Being are:

Be Passionate

Be Honest

Be Caring

Be the Standard

Be Creating the Future

As leadership, there are now two major things we had to do.

One, we had to live these out in front of our teams.  Unless they see us doing these things and emphasizing them as we did them, then this would be useless.

Second, we would have to systemically do things for our team members to stoke the Ways of Being in their lives.

For example, when we unveiled the education benefit through Liberty University it accomplished both of those things.  It told the team member that PAR cares, that we are passionate about their future and we want them to be the standard of all Christian media.

Because PAR leadership has lived this out for our team, this encourages the team to live it out with our customers, listeners, donors and other team members.

Let me bottom-line the issue now.  We did those initiatives because they were the right things to do.  If the leadership of an organization does not care and invest in the lives of its team members, the team members will not invest or be passionate about the mission and vision of the organization.

The real question many are asking is this…what’s the return to PAR?

We are able to honor our team members and meet some of their dreams and needs that go beyond the office and touch their families and their future.

We hope it makes for a more passionate team members who puts their all into what we do.  Our hope is that what they do no longer is just a job or a position, but a pssion.

It makes it harder for other organizations to hire away your best talent.

One of the roles of a leader is to be an evangelist for the mission and vision of the organization.  As we invest in our people, they will become evangelists for the organization.

Team members who are passionate about the organization will work harder and smarter to achieve the mission and vision.

When PAR goes in search of talent this will make us appealing to potential candidates.

It sets us apart.  By investing in our team it allows PAR to be seen, hopefully, as an industry leader.

Finally, as leadership, we get the assurance that we did the right thing.  You can never go wrong by investing in your team.  Never.

Brian Sanders

Positive Alternative Radio

Executive Vice-President

Brian is the Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio in Blacksburg.

PAR has six brands which include Spirit FM in Lynchburg, VA; WCQR in Kingsport, TN; Positive Hits, WPER in Richmond/Fredericksburg, VA; Joy FM in Winston Salem, NC; Walk FM in Ashland, KY, Huntington,WV; and Joy FM in Union City, OH.

You can read more blogs by the PAR team at www.dearchristianradio.com

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Radio is trying to find it’s place in this new season of technology and how gate keepers are being bypassed by consumers.  I often hear from radio stations, “Well, we are local and nothing will ever replace a radio station focused on it’s community.”  It’s like that is the default response from those in radio.  Have no fear because time, weather and traffic is found on our station.  Not to be mean but who the heck cares.

It wasn’t that long ago we all tuned into our local TV stations at night to find out what the weather would be and then used radio to keep track of current weather conditions, time, traffic and also to find out the latest things going on in our community.  Radio had what you needed.  It’s amazing how many stations continue to give the time, temp, traffic as though the listener is actually sitting on the edge of their seat waiting on that information.  I’m not saying that you cannot give that info but at the end of the day it’s just not a huge deal any more.  I pull up my phone to get the headline news, current temperatures, 10 day weather forecast, exact time not to mention watching traffic updates on my phone in real time.  If I want to find out what’s going on in my community this weekend, I simply google it.  Again, I am not saying some of those items shouldn’t be in your broadcast but don’t think more of it than what it actually is.  Your listeners have instant access to that information.

Being local isn’t enough.  You have to offer your listeners an experience each time they tune into your station.  With radio listening declining (Mark Ramsey’s Blog Uh Oh: Radio’s Reach Is Declining) you need to figure out how to have what listeners are looking for at your station.  I do believe if you are a local station you should be out kissing babies, showing up at concerts, making that local connection but it’s not enough.  If that is all you are counting on,  you are going to miss the boat when it sails.

Content Is king:  This means you have to bring something your listeners want.  Provide content they cannot find anywhere else.

Connection Is A Must:  You can have the worlds biggest cume but if you haven’t connected with your listeners it’s worthless if you are a non-profit radio station.  Just the other day I witnessed a station that uses mostly voice trackers and yet haven’t connected with their audience.  They would tell you they have great ratings with their voice trackers but they have failed to make a connection and now the audience simply doesn’t respond when asked to give.  It’s not all about cume but connection.  I’ll take a smaller cume any day if it means I have listeners who don’t want to live without my radio station.  I’ll also raise more money with the lesser cume.

Entertainment:  Look, music is easy to find.  I have thousands of songs on my phone.  I often stream from my phone to my cars Screen Shot 2014-12-07 at 11.32.45 PMradio and stream Spotify, Apple Radio etc…  Radio is no longer the gate keeper to my music.  I don’t have to call your radio station only to find out you don’t play requests.  I set up my phone, playlist and I am ready to rock.  Just the other day I was getting ready to drive from Nashville to Louisville.  I got in my rental car and as usual I began to set up my bluetooth connection.  My plan was to listen to my Spotify channel I had created with some friends.  While setting up my phone, the radio came on.  I couldn’t tell you what station but the personalities were very funny and entertaining.  I never listened to Spotify, at least not until I was out of reach of the radio signal.  I would have never listened to the radio for the music but the entertainment was awesome and they had me hooked.   As long as radio continues to compete with the phone or tablet for music, it will lose each time.  It’s like a flashback to when AM radio tried to compete with FM radio with music.  AM radio almost died.  Who wants to listen in mono, through static to hear poor quality music when I could just jump over to FM?  AM Radio had to change the game and they did that with talk radio.  I am not saying you don’t play music at your station, what I am saying is your show, personalities have to be so good that your listener will not go online to stream something, that they will stay with you, oh and you just happen to play music as well.

Radio is changing and it’s changing quickly.  Being local is not enough.  You have to provide an experience, have awesome content, make a great connection and have personalities on the air that are very entertaining.

Swift v. Spotify

November 22, 2014 — 3 Comments

 

Ben Milton

Ben Milton

Unless you live under a rock you’ve heard that Taylor Swift pulled all of her music off of Spotify.  Her complaint (and that of every artist who isn’t named Dave Grohl) is that not enough money is paid by Spotify to the artist.  Spotify of course says that they pay a majority of their revenue to the labels and the labels are the ones preventing the artists from getting paid. The labels say there isn’t enough money coming in to share and it’s not their fault.  Big shock there, right?  It’s always somebody else’s fault.  Meanwhile radio has been real quiet about all this.  Why?

               Here is what Taylor and many artists don’t get and why radio needs to pay attention.  Artists complain that they only get $.004  for each stream of their music.  So every time someone plays a song the artist gets a measly piece of money.  You know how much an artist makes each time song is played on the radio?  Hint, it’s not as much as it is with Spotify.  It’s nothing.  Zero.  EVER.   Now writers and producers get paid but the artist doesn’t make a dime EXCEPT for the hope that the exposure leads to a CD or iTunes sale.

               So what exactly are the artists complaining about?  They don’t make a direct dime off of radio.  Not even a single cent!  Sure .004 cents a play or spin doesn’t sound all that exciting either but they aren’t getting that from radio.  And with the entire radio industry claiming simultaneously that listenership has never been better but that budgets have never been tighter it seems unlikely that radio is going to give in even that much.

               Let’s consider for a moment that a wise artist realizes this and talks to their smart manager, who sits down with the label and everyone realizes the same thing I did.  .004 of a dollar  is a TON of money compared to nothing.  Is it fair?  I don’t know.  Maybe, maybe not.

               Imagine that an artist makes about $4.00 for each CD/iTunes album sale.  At the current rate from Spotify a song would have to be played 1000 times to equal that same profit margin.  That’s more spins than I generally give an album.  Even one that I REALLY like so I think the argument could be made for increasing the profit for the artist in this case.  But on the other hand you know exactly how many people are spinning being exposed to your song.  That’s something radio just cannot do.  That kind of information is powerful and has a way of correcting a market that’s been based on speculation.  Music may not be as valuable as we thought it was.  Maybe the market won’t pay $4 to a an artist anymore.

               Here is why radio should be concerned.  Spotify may not be the most profitable way for artists to be paid but it’s the most accurate.  The radio industry subscribes to Neilson, which for all the money spent is still extrapolated scientific guessing and estimating of how many people are listening.  In DC 8-15 people coming in and out of the panel can swing 50,000 to 100,000 people in the sample.  That just kind of shows how fragile the whole system is.  Everyone has just agreed to not rock the boat and question it too much.  To Nelison’s credit they continue to work on making the samples larger and more accurate but at the end of the day it’s still statistics with a possibility of error.  They even tell you as much on the bottom of each report.

               Now think in to the future.  Digital media is becoming more and more a thing.  Ad buyers are looking at where to spend their money.  Spotify can tell the add buyer EXACTLY how many people are going to be exposed to the product.  Radio says “We think it’s somewhere around 100,000 people.”  If you’re smart with your money you’ll spend on the sure thing.

               If you are a label in the near future are you going to invest in a guestimated audience or are you going to put your shrinking budget in to areas where you know exactly your return?  Well, so far radio hasn’t had much competition in this regard.  But how long before Spotify, Pandora or some other streaming service generate enough listeners that labels start going to them first for releases and public relations stuff?  When radio isn’t the for sure go to for new music releases it’s going to have to rely on its talent and content.  An area it’s ignored and marginalized for at least 20 years.

Find Ben and his podcast at www.sometimesthereisgod.com